Tour to Esso in the hearth of Kamchatka
August 7-8, 2010
Esso is a town in the hearth of Kamchatka, home of Evens, Koryaks, as well as many Russians. The atmosphere is very charming and picturesque, as the town is made by small wooden houses having lush gardens due to excellent availability of water and a rich soil. Two museums are an excellent source to know more about nomad reindeer people and natives.
In about five hours of driving time, the 6WD buses move the group from Tolbachik volcano to Esso, a charming town in central Kamchatka.
Esso is a town located in central Kamchatka, far away from the sea, and connected to the capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy only by a gravel road 550 kilometers long. The town has about 2600 inhabitants (August 2010) and is the home for many Kamchatka native people, like the Evens, the Koryaks, but also for many Russians.
The fertile soil, as well as the temperate summer weather and the plenty of water available, lets to grow flowers and vegetables (mainly potatoes) in the spacious gardens surrounding the charming wooden houses in Esso downtown.
Small potato fields in flower, growing in the gardens around the homes.
An Amanita muscaria (commonly known as "fly agaric" or "fly amanita"), a big and colorful mushroom, having poisonous and hallucinogenic properties. This amanita mushroom grows in abundance throughout the Kamchatka peninsula and is used by Kamchatka natives, like the Koriyak, as a substitute for alcohol or opium. This mushroom is used also in Russian Far East as a good for exchange with reindeers.
Esso is crossed by a number of tortuous rivers.
An exhibition of Kamchatka natives in their traditional clothes and musical instruments. An association takes care to teach the traditional practices, songs and dances to children, so the culture of Kamchatka natives will not be lost because of the progress and the modernity.
Russian Far East natives showing typical toys, clothes and musical instruments.
We visit a museum in Esso displaying the life of nomad people living thanks to the reindeers.
We visit also another museum in Esso collecting items and information about Russian Far East natives.
The museum is Esso has also a real-scale representation of a traditional home, no longer in use since about the end of the Soviet Union. These homes were built partly under ground to save the heat and access was granted by a porthole and a long stair from the roof.
It's now time to say goodbye to Kamchatka and go back to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy airport, from where an Aeroflot flight will bring me back to Moscow.